Both entries in the Portal series have some deep roots in indie games, and one of the primary inspirations for Portal 2 is now available on Steam. The sequel’s gel mechanics originate in a student game called Tag: The Power of Paint, and while it’s been available as freeware online for years, you can now get it on Valve’s own platform, too.
Tag was developed by students at DigiPen Institute of Technology back in 2009. It’s a first-person puzzle platformer with a paint gun you can use to spray the environment with various colours. Those colours confer the floor and walls with properties that let you slide or bounce off the surface. It’s a fun time, and only about 30 minutes long – check it out on Steam if you haven’t already played it.
A bunch of indie awards were conferred on Tag, and Valve hired the team behind the project to implement many of those concepts into the gel system for Portal 2. That mirrors the development story of the original Portal – another group of Digipen students released Narbacular Drop in 2005, and were hired by Valve to bring its concepts into a full game.
If you want a very quick look at Tag, it appeared at at AGDQ 2016, as you can see below.
Portal co-writer Erik Wolpaw is pretty keen on Portal 3 happening, by the way.
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